Magonia (Magonia Series #1)

Magonia (Magonia Series #1)

by Maria Dahvana Headley


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“Maria Dahvana Headley is a firecracker: she’s whip smart with a heart, and she writes like a dream.”  —Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of The Graveyard Book and Coraline

#1 New York Times bestseller Maria Dahvana Headley’s soaring sky fantasy Magonia is now in paperback!

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this New York Times bestselling story about a girl caught between two worlds, two races, and two destinies.

Don’t miss Aerie, the stunning, highly anticipated sequel!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062320537
Publisher: HarperCollins US
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Series: Magonia Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 269,192
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Maria Dahvana Headley is a New York Times bestselling novelist, memoirist, and editor, most recently of Magonia, Queen of Kings, and the anthology Unnatural Creatures (coeditor with Neil Gaiman). Her short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards. She lives in Brooklyn in an apartment with a seven-foot stuffed crocodile and constellations on the ceiling. You can find her at

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Magonia 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read
Cherylkochbooks More than 1 year ago
I was fascinated by the book cover first and then the summary of this book. So I took chance on it. Overall, it was a good book. The world that the author built in Magonia was amazing. It was so colorful and full of magic. Aza is a different person in Magonia than she is in the real world. I liked her better in Magonia. She is strong. The reasons that I gave this book only 3 stars is because when I first started this book I did not pick out anything in the first several chapters as interesting. In fact, I started this book while laying in bed. Some of my best times to read. Because the story had not picked up yet, I quickly fell asleep and could not remember anything that I had read in those several chapters. Also it seemed that the story was rushed and details glossed over. I wanted to know more about this fascinating world and the people in it. I did not have a close connection with anyone in particular in this book. Although, I must admit that this book is different from the books that are currently on the bookshelves. This is a good thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good but I feel like some characters were unnecessary and just put there to appeal to a "young adult" reader *cough* Dai cough*.
afieryhale More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Great characters and a unique plot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique. Imaginative. Beautiful. Wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot and the characters were beautiful. I couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good read. The two main characters are very interesting people and I like the writing style. It's heavily stylized so you feel like your looking into the inside of their heads. Lost a star because the world building was slightly lacking. It is a large, interesting place. However I felt that it wasn't described well. I never quite understood the rules of the world or the way it operates. I also feel like Aza lost a lot of strength after the first few chapters, and didn't show much of her natural curiosity. I very much liked Jason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days and then went to get the second book and absolutely fell in love with the story line and the magical world of Magnolia!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite simply, I adored this book. Richly written, brilliantly conceived and elegantly costructed, this story encompasses ALL meanings of the word "novel." It truly is something deliciously new and different, taking me on a glorious flight I'd never before experienced. The book expanded my mind and alternately made me laugh out loud, cry, shout in anger, and shiver with pure joy. It ended far too soon and although it left me with a warm feeling, it also left me feeling bereft - desperately sad to have to leave all my new friends. I'm hoping against hope for a sequel.
anythingnovel More than 1 year ago
This book was really difficult for me to get into. I’ve had it for a few months and kept starting it and getting sidetracked within the first 50 pages. Aza’s character in the beginning of the novel is characterized as extremely cynical and full of angst. As the reader, I took on this blasé attitude about the story which caused me to be indifferent about the characters and events. When Aza experiences a very real health scare within the first few chapters of the novel, and begins to get very emotional and upset in front of her mother about her possible death I found it jarring and inconsistent with her previous attitude towards her mortality. If this display had been utilized when I was more comfortable with the cynical character, I think it could have been really powerful to see her feel such deep emotion and display an attitude that is so different from Aza’s norm. But in this case it left me more confused, and I didn’t have any emotional attachment to it at all. I think Headley’s skill in this novel was her description of the ship and the people of Magonia. That is when I took a real interest in the novel and wanted to hear more about how the characters looked and acted. Overall, this book was okay and creative, but I wish I was able to connect more with the characters causing me to have more of an interest in how the plot was going to play out.
BoundWithWords More than 1 year ago
This book is weird. Like really, really weird. And unique. At first I didn't knew if I was able to read this because the writing was really hard to get into, it was very emo and trying to be funny-ironic but wasn't working - it also had some lyrical moments that felt really out of place but I got used to it and even found some parts beautiful and touching. The fantastical aspects also take a while to get used to, it's extremely unique and the images that are described are as beautiful as the cover but still is really weird and it took a lot of my enjoyment and investment on the story. But what really made this book becoming just okay was the main character, Aza, I just never connected with her making her destine being not as interesting as it should have been. I think Jason was a easier character to connect but there was so little of his POV's that it's practically impossible to know for sure. I also feel like I missed some point of this book, of course I missed most of the feelings for my lack of connection but I still feel like there is some major plot point or coming of age point or something that makes everything here makes total sense and turn this in an amazing book but I'm not seeing it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my most surprising, and highest rated reads of 2015. Neil Gaiman fans, this is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brittanysbookrambles More than 1 year ago
3.5/5 Stars Since she was born, Aza Ray has had a rare lung disease that has kept her from breathing normally. For her entire life, she has always been a scientific mystery—lucky to have lived past the age of two. But as her disease slowly progresses, she begins to see ships flying in the sky that literally call out her name. Confused and terrified, she initially thinks that she is experiencing hallucinations, but when she discovers the magical world of Magonia, she realizes that her so-called hallucinations are anything but. In the sky, Aza can feel her newly discovered powers brewing within her. However, Magonia and Earth are not on friendly terms, and Aza is stuck between the two. Magonia is like no other book I've read before, with whimsical and unique elements of fantasy that take you into an amazing world of flying ships and songs that can turn stone to ice. The characters will sweep you into their world through their strong voices and personalities, and the way the author weaves the history into the story feels natural and true. The only thing that keeps me from loving Magonia is the writing style. While some people may like it for its uniqueness, I found this stuff: [{( )}], &&&, !!!, OMG, and the constant rows of the number Pi (written out) to be extremely annoying. Aside from this, I would still recommend reading this book. Full review:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book starts off with the main character, Aza Ray Boyle, introducing herself by telling us all about her history with hospitals. She has spent a lot of time in them in her almost sixteen years. Because she has an incredibly rare disease that completely baffles her doctors. She is the only person know to have this disease so it's named after her. I felt like the whole first chapter was just her going on and on and on about her disease and imminent death. I nearly stopped reading this book because I was like okay, yeah, I get it. You have crappy lungs and are probably going to die. So anyway, things are going as well as can be expected for Aza until she sees a ship sailing across the sky and calling out to her. Everyone but her best friend Jason believes it's just a hallucination. But after some internet research they come up with Magonia. Basically a world up in the sky. They don't get much further than that before Aza leaves that world behind and wakes up in Magonia. The people there are blue and bird-like. They sing things into happening and they are on a mission that requires Aza's help. She has to decide if she can trust these people. I liked the dual point of view with Jason. I liked how he truly believed Aza was still out there and never gave up looking for her. He does everything in his power to find her and get her back. He's kind of a weird dude, but Aza's kind of weird too. So they make a good pair. I also liked how when Aza got to Magonia, it wasn't like she somehow automatically became an expert on all things Magonia. She asks a lot of questions. She really wants to go home. I liked how it wasn't like okay, I'm here, I'm just gonna like it and pretend I know everything. I liked the idea of this story. I think that Magonia being a land in the sky is a really interesting setting. I think all the singing and the little birds that live in your chest and sing with you are weird. But in general I think this is a really neat concept. I did not care for how this book was written. Honestly, I may not have tried hard enough to like it. I didn't like all the weird parentheses and brackets and such because I didn't know what I was supposed to fill into most of the blanks. I didn't really care for how it was written in general either. I feel like things are worded too weird and I had to read some things over a few times to fully understand what they were trying to say. So I am giving this book three stars because I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it either. I might read the second one, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it or anything.
CJListro More than 1 year ago
Read more: I was shocked when I saw that Neil Gaiman had blurbed this random book with a weird name. Obviously, I had to read it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors for good reason: he captures the dark, yet whimsical side of fantasy few others touch. Well, Magonia deserves all its praise. It’s a fantastical pirate opera with quirky-cool characters, an original mythology, and innovative writing. Yes, I said freaking pirate opera. But it starts out sneakily, with Aza and Jason. They’re adorable super-nerds who compete to see who can acquire the most obscure knowledge (whether that be Tibetan throat singing or the first 50,000 digits of pi). They’re also adorably sort of kind of into each other, and sort of kind of clueless. It’s the perfect recipe for a young adult contemporary romance geekier than John Green’s wildest dreams. But Aza is no normal girl. She’s drowning in the air. Every breath is a struggle and a gift. Despite my dubiousness towards the recent rash (har har, see what I did there?) of allergy/medical anomaly books, I went in with an open mind. I was rewarded with the wonders of Magonia, a world-in-the-air. Headley vividly unfolds a world of blue-skinned mages who sing the rain, servile bird-humans, sky ships, Squallwhales, and magical birds that live in the hearts of their masters. This world is enchantingly portrayed in Headley’s witty, whimsical poetry. She plays around with language in a way that showcases her comfort with the medium. There are whole multitudes of feeling explored in punctuation [{((( )))}], blank spaces, and paragraphs shaped like homes and falling rain. There are descriptions that could have been painted on. The whole thing is suffused with a dry cheekiness that feels like Headley is letting you in on some private joke. But there’s a dark side to the beauty. Aza soon realizes that something is amiss. The captain wants something from her. The sailors won’t let her leave. And a ghost-bird cries for freedom, while all ears but Aza’s are deaf. On the surface world, only Jason believes that Aza is not truly lost, but his persistence may be putting him in great danger. This is the kind of book that will leave you breathless. Headley paces it perfectly, making you wait and then cracking the whip. She draws you in with the wonders of Magonia’s magic, of Aza’s mystical powers, leaving you languid and satisfied. Then, she stokes the tension with an accumulation of darker and darker mysteries that explode into a surprising climax. I did have my complaints. I wish we’d gotten more of a taste of Magonia’s rulers, of the relationship of Magonia and Earth, of the mysterious skinwalkers. These things seemed too circumscribed for such important pieces of the puzzle. But in the end, my questions just pointed to one fact: I want more of this world!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really enjoying this at the beginning. I liked Aza, her sarcasm & snarkiness. I liked the dialogue between Aza & Jason, & I enjoyed their relationship. The second half of the book just got really weird. Most of the time I'm ok with weird, but I had a lot of questions throughout this book. There wasn't enough explanation. Wen there was explanation, it came after I was already too confused for it to really be helpful. Not a lot made sense & the author didn't do much to help the reader understand the alternate universe.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Magonia is a debut novel and the start to a series. It has been getting enough buzz and attention this year that it hardly needs an introduction. This book does a lot of things well. I like that, although it shifts when the story gets rolling, that Aza starts the story with a serious illness that she has to navigate. She does so admirably and capably. Her first person narration is breezy and conversational. The characters and story are incredibly well-drawn. Unfortunately, none of that gets a chance to shine in the beginning of the novel because Aza's narrative is structured more as a stream of consciousness with a lot of bluster and almost no relevant information or plot development. Aza's voice also never felt quite authentic enough instead it felt like reading a character who was trying very, very hard to sound like a real teenager. Because of the narrative style, the novel is very slow to get to any element of fantasy which probably makes Magonia a good choice for readers who tend to gravitate toward contemporary stories. With a style and voice reminiscent of Jude in I'll Give You the Sun, Aza and Magonia are sure to find their fans and possibly even introduce new readers to the fantasy genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This sounds great :) :)
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley Book One of an untitled series Publisher: HarperCollins Publication Date: April 28, 2015 Rating: 3 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies. Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.  Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.  So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name. Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.  Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie? What I Liked: I think I liked this one overall. I was a bit confused at times, and I think certain parts were rushed and other parts were too slow, but then I enjoyed the writing style and the fantasy. I could see myself reading the sequel, and that's what tipped this one over to three stars, versus two stars. Aza has a rare, unknown disease that prevents her from ever being "normal": she gets sick a lot, like she can't breathe on Earth. It's a lung disease, but no one knows anything about it. The doctors have called it "Azaray Syndrome". One day, Aza dies. That is, her human body is buried, but Aza herself finds herself on a ship in the sky, in a world called Magonia. Aza now knows what she is and where she belongs, but she lived for fifteen years with "drowners" (humans). But Aza doesn't know what to do about her newly discovered powers, and she certainly doesn't want to let go of Jason, her best friend, whom she is in love with (and he her). In the end, her decision might cost her life - and the lives of many others. This book is written with two perspectives, Aza's and Jason's. Both are in first person. I actually really liked this dual sharing of point-of-views, because one is on Earth (Jason), and one is in Magonia (Aza). Both perspectives are definitely necessary for the development of the story. Aza's life in Magonia is obviously a huge part of the story, and Jason;s refusal to believe that Aza is dead is almost as important.  I think I like Aza. She has no clue what is going on when she wakes up on the ship in the air, and she's not afraid to let everyone know that she knows nothing. She doesn't understand everyone's expectations of her. She wants to go back to Earth, but slowly, she realizes that her place in Magonia. She meets her biological mother, the captain of the ship she's on. Zal (her biological mother) explains little, but Aza finds out that she has great power, and that someone put her on Earth as a baby, supposedly to save her from Maganwetar, the capital/government of the ships in the sky.  Things are definitely more interesting in the sky than on the Earth. Don't get me wrong, I like Jason and the second part of the story (with Aza in Magonia, supposedly dead), but I didn't absolutely love the beginning of the story. The ships in the sky are quite intriguing, as are the fantasy elements of the story. The world-building is a strange thing. The author does a lot of showing, rather than telling. This is great, because the imagery is very rich and clear. However, it was also strange, because I didn't know how much of the world-building was given by the author, and how much of it was my imagination, in my head.  There is the ships in the sky, and there is the whole bird thing. The ships hold people that are birds - not even kidding. If my understanding is correct, the birds are like humans, and can morph into human-like beings. Aza, her mother, and Dai (the boy who is first in command) are not like most of those creatures - but they have birds in their chest (at least, Aza and Dai do. Zal's canwyr was lost long ago). This allows them to sing, and channel their power through singing. Wild, no? No love triangle, and I hope it stays that way. There are two males in the story (I'm giving you a fair warning), but Jason is in love with Aza, and Aza is in love with Jason. Aza has a partner on the ship, her ethologidion, who is her singing partner, one whom she shares her power (and vice versa), and to whom she is bonded  The plot is a bit slow, and then at the end, things happen all at once. Which actually isn't a terrible thing, but I wish there could have been more things occurring in the middle of the book too. I liked the ending, though I saw it coming (kind of). I know there has to be at least one more book in the series, given the ending - and the Publishers' Weekly rights report confirms this! I'll be reading the sequel (most likely), when available. What I Did Not Like: This one isn't getting five or four stars, though it does seem like I liked a lot of aspects of this book. I definitely wasn't really feeling the beginning of the book. This is where Aza and her condition is introduced, and her hallucinations are made known. But they're not hallucinations, because Aza really is hearing someone call her, and there really are ships in the sky. Somehow, the beginning didn't really hold my attention, though the world-building on Earth was solid and there was a lot of great detail. However, I can understand why people on Goodreads stopped reading after a certain part, so soon at the beginning. Because the beginning, quite frankly, was boring. I think I saw people say something about the author's writing style - personally, I like it, but I can see why people wouldn't. It kind of adds to the lull of the story. Things start to pick up a little a few days after Aza is in Magonia, on the ship with her mother and the crew. I definitely needed more information than was given in this book. I have a feeling that the author will reveal more about the world, the capital (Maganwetar), the fight for power and rights, why Aza is SO important... but not enough was made known in this book. I was always feeling like something (some THINGS) was lacking. I hope this is rectified in the next book. So, confusion, some boredom, a desire for more information. My dislikes are a bit vague, but they were enough to make me drop my rating of this book. I'm not really sure what I think of this book, but overall, I think I liked it. Would I Recommend It: Ehhh. If this one wasn't already on your radar, then don't go crazy and inflate your TBR list. This one was good, but not a must-read (in my opinion). I liked it, but I'm not sure I would go pushing it on other people. If you already have it, read it! Rating: 3 stars. It was okay? I think it could have easily blown me away, with the lyrical, unique writing style and really interesting fantastical world-building, but my analytic, scientific brain wanted more information! But I most likely will be reading the sequel, so that's a good sign!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
3.5 (liked it a lot)     I wanted to read Magonia because I was first drawn to the premise of the girl who has these respiratory issues because illness books have always appealed to me. But then I realized it was a fantasy and she is misplaced--because in this universe in the skies, she is strong and has no illness.     I like the main character Aza she was very smart and full of life even though she was so sick. her and her best friend Jason were pretty obscure people. they know all kinds of random knowledge and we're constantly challenging each other. since they've been friends for years and years since they were 5 they have a very special and deep bond.     As part of her disease she sometimes runs fevers and hallucinates and when she all the sudden sees a ship in the sky, everyone assumes that it is a hallucination. But when they find a feather, of all things, in her lungs then we start to see the fantasy aspect of the story. jason is very well read so he's heard of mythology and such of people claiming to come from a place called Magonia throughout history and when they are on land, they say they for there by falling from the sky. there is a story event of a man who came out of nowhere with a rope and an anchor and it appeared like he was drowning in the air. the story especially stuck with Aza because of her lungs and her breathing problems that seems to be very unique to her and the disorder is even named after her.       After seeing the ship, she sees all sorts of birds along with crazy weather. Them she starts to think that the birds are talking to her and of course that is a link with the feather. She is in her room and thinks that a bird flies into her chest and is speaking through her. Next thing we see her rushed to the hospital and then we know we are all of the sudden out of Aza and in Jason's perspective and it seems like Aza has passed away.     Jason works hard, using all of his knowledge and connections into looking into ships  in the sky. He hears her screaming at him from a distance at her funeral and he doesn't stop searching.      The world building takes a whole new step as we get back into Aza's perspective. She is all of the sudden able to breath, and her body feels strong. She learns a lot about her past, and shocking secrets about her family, and why her lungs were so bad on the ground. She tries to grasp the differences in this whole new species that she is a part of. They work with the birds, their skin is different, so is their language and thinking. She is surrounded by a whole new cast of characters and she is rightly suspicious of everyone. But she does form bonds with some of them, and some are good decisions and others lead to plot developments and twists she didn't want to believe.      I enjoyed this book, and although it felt like some parts got a little slow, I was easily distracted by other things going on, and I am sure that had something to do with it. But I certainly want to keep reading, and find out more about this strange world in the sky and how Aza fits into it. I also am eager to see more of the chemistry and deep bond between her and Jason, how the alliances she made while sailing will play out.  Bottom Line: Intricate world building, relatable main character, and fun read.